Collaborative agreement reached between the Frick Art Reference Library and Artstor

New York, March 2, 2005. The Frick Art Reference Library and Artstor announced today that they had reached an agreement to collaborate on the digitization, preservation, and distribution through Artstor of approximately 20,000 high quality digital images from the Library’s famous photoarchive, one of the world’s greatest art historical research resources.

This collaboration will focus on the Frick Library’s renowned Negative Collection, an archive of approximately 60,000 large-format negatives that is prized by scholars as a unique visual record of lesser-known and largely unpublished European and American paintings. These paintings are often documented with invaluable, unpublished information and scholarly opinions assembled under the Frick’s auspices. The Negative Collection is the product of both ongoing acquisitions programs and dedicated photographic campaigns sponsored by the Frick Library. One of the Frick Library’s top priorities is the digital reformatting and preservation of deteriorating negatives from the Negative Collection. The present collaboration will advance this key institutional goal, building upon support previously proffered by the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Foundation.

The present project will involve two key archives from the Negative Collection. The first archive consists of nearly 9,000 large-format, glass plate negatives produced in the early decades of the twentieth century by the Italian photographic firm of Sansoni. The Sansoni archive richly document fresco cycles and other forms of architectural decoration in many remote sites throughout Italy, including significant works that have since suffered irreversible damage or destruction.

The second archive consists of nearly 10,000 large-format glass plate and nitrate negatives, as well as polyester “interpositives,” produced by the archives of the firm A.C. Cooper, Photographers, London, and related photographic archives. These photos principally document paintings as they passed through art auction galleries in London in the 1920s and 1930s, often in transit from one private collection to another.

These two landmark archives will greatly enrich Artstor’s value to a wide academic and museum audience. In reaching this agreement, Anne L. Poulet, Director of the Frick Collection, and James Shulman, Executive Director of Artstor, expressed their enthusiasm in collaborating to use digital technologies to make these unique scholarly resources more broadly available for noncommercial educational and scholarly purposes. “Just as the founding of the Frick Art Reference Library marked an extraordinary milestone in providing an image repository for in depth scholarly research, our collaboration with Artstor will set us on a sure and valuable course to preserve and develop the Library’s mission through digital technology,” comments Poulet.

Artstor was created in 2001 as a nonprofit initiative of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and is now an independent non-profit organization dedicated to serving education and scholarship in the arts and the humanities.

The Frick Art Reference Library was founded in 1920 by Helen Clay Frick as a memorial to her father, Henry Clay Frick. Its mission was and remains to gather photographs of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and illuminated manuscripts executed between the fourth and the mid-twentieth century by European and American artists; to collate with each photograph facts relating to the object’s history and present location; and to create a comprehensive research library for the study of Western art. Today the Library’s holdings of books, periodicals, auction sale catalogs, special collections and archives complement the photoarchive to comprise one of the world’s most valued art research centers and the most comprehensive resource on the history of collecting and patronage.

# # #

For further press information about The Frick Collection and Frick Art Reference Library, please contact Heidi Rosenau, Manager of Media Relations & Marketing Media Relations Phone: (212) 547-6866; General Phone: (212) 288-0700 Fax: (212) 628-4417; E-mail address:

For press information about Artstor, contact Giovanni Garcia-Fenech, Communications Manager, at 212-500-2404.